DENVER (Sept. 20, 2021) – On Oct. 1, the Science, Technology, Environment, Agriculture, and systems Design (STEAD) opened to students, parents, and invited guests in the heart of the Reunion community in Commerce City, CO for a “sneak peek” of this unique secondary school. A science-based, student-led and project-driven high school, the STEAD School is one of the nation’s first fully integrated Nextgen Agriculture Secondary Schools, founded with the mission of preparing young adults to engage with the world’s leading global food, health, energy, and environmental issues.


The STEAD School is reimagining high school education in Colorado, empowering students to design their own careers across four core pathways: animal, plant, environmental and food sciences. STEAD’s curriculum is delivered through the lens of project-based learning and career and technical training. Students will learn through hands-on materials, interdependent projects, individualized lessons, internships, and community service. STEAD students will have the opportunity to graduate with professional portfolios, post-secondary plans, college credit, and robust professional and volunteer experience.


The STEAD School aims to create a pipeline of Colorado innovators, entrepreneurs, civic leaders, and future scientists who are prepared to lead the biomedicine, food and water, agricultural science and renewable energy industries into the future. In addition to these scientific areas of study, a STEAD student’s coursework includes instruction and internships in the arts, foreign language, English, mathematics, history, and physical exercise. The STEAD School will also offer a range of weekly extracurricular opportunities in music, art, and sports; these opportunities will include in-school and after-school clubs and teams.


STEAD students will learn in a community that is inquisitive, relevant and inclusive, focusing on both the academic and social emotional health of its members. The STEAD experience prepares students extensively for college and the college application process, offering opportunities to earn considerable college credit, with PSAT/SAT prep built into every grade’s curriculum.


The STEAD School’s opening is of regional and national significance. Over the last several years, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) schools have opened across the country, starting an exciting new trend of science-based secondary education. The STEAD School will build on STEM’s success by integrating elements of environment, agriculture and systems design into high-school-age students’ curriculum. STEAD’s first of its kind education model is equipped to set a new standard for STEM instruction in the United States.


The STEAD School is opening with an inaugural class of 160 9th grade students, growing one class each year until students from grades 9-12 are represented. At full capacity, STEAD will host approximately 700 high-school-aged students. Students do not have to live in Commerce City to attend, as STEAD will accept out-of-district applicants through a lottery process. As a District 27J Charter School, STEAD will participate in the free and reduced lunch program, and a student transportation program is currently in development.


“I came to STEAD because I wanted to learn technical skills like building and programming – things you don’t get at a normal high school,” said Japheth Djibom, a student in STEAD’s inaugural freshman class. “I’m excited about everything. I think STEAD is going to be a mix of fun and education.”


BuildStrong Education, an Oakwood Homes Foundation, proposed and sponsored the school’s development. The STEAD School board of directors is led by cofounders Amy Schwartz, the executive director of BuildStrong Education, and Kelly Leid, the director of lifestyle operations for Oakwood Homes. Both will speak at the school’s opening ceremony, along with Cal Fulenwider, whose family donated the land, Kevin Denton, founding principal, board member Robert Meza, STEAD’s partnership development committee chair, and several incoming students.


About The STEAD School

The STEAD School uses hands-on materials, interdependent projects, cooperative learning, individualized lessons, internships, and community service to prepare students to take on the future of biomedicine, food and water security, agricultural sciences, renewable energies, and more. STEAD School students enter a pipeline to leadership positions in the world’s leading industries, and they emerge well-prepared for the future, equipped with professional portfolios, post-secondary plans, college credit, and robust work and community service experiences. To learn more about the STEAD School, visit their website here.


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